Page last updated at 22:46 GMT, Saturday, 21 June 2008 23:46 UK

Soldiers killed in Afghan blasts

A soldier stands guard in Kandahar province
Kandahar is a key battleground of the current rebel insurgency

Five foreign soldiers have died in two bomb attacks in Afghanistan.

Four US-led troops were killed by a roadside bomb in the southern province of Kandahar, and a Polish soldier died in an attack in the south-east.

The deaths bring to 17 the number of coalition soldiers killed in Afghanistan over the past two weeks.

June has been one of the deadliest months for Western forces since they began military operations against the Taleban in 2002.

The nationalities of the soldiers who died in the incident in Kandahar were not immediately known. Two other soldiers were seriously wounded in the attack.

Arghandab map

Some 14,000 soldiers serve in the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, mainly involved in operations against Taleban and al-Qaeda militants.

The Polish soldier died in Paktika province when a bomb exploded under a patrol vehicle. Four other Polish troops were injured.

They are members of the separate, 50,000-strong Nato force in the country.

Deadly month

Earlier this week Nato and Afghan forces said they had driven many Taleban fighters from the area during a major offensive in Kandahar province.

The operation was in response to a jailbreak staged by the Taleban from Kandahar prison earlier this month, during which at least 350 insurgents were freed.

Kandahar is one of the key battlegrounds of the current rebel insurgency against Afghanistan's government and troops from Nato and a US-led coalition.

Afghan officials say 56 Taleban and two Afghan troops died in the fighting on Thursday, in Arghandab district near Kandahar city, but there was no independent confirmation.

The latest incident comes a day after two other US-led soldiers were killed in separate attacks elsewhere in the country.

Nine British servicemen have also been killed since the start of June.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says that in recent months the Taleban have switched their tactics using roadside bombs and suicide attacks to increasingly deadly effect.

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